04/26/2012 12:57PM

Evangeline Downs: Slight edge to Classic Cascade in John Henry

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OPELOUSAS, La. – The first turf stakes of the young Evangeline Downs meeting, Saturday’s $50,000 John Henry, has attracted a full field of 12.

Classic Cascade could rule a tepid favorite in the 1 1/16-mile John Henry but is hardly a slam dunk. While the Stanley Robert-trained Classic Cascade was a winner in his lone local start on the grass, a two-length tally in the Louisiana Showcase Turf last July, the 5-year-old is winless since. He has been idle since a third-place finish in statebred company in early March although his most recent Beyer Speed Figure was a career-best 88. Richard Eramia, aboard last summer in that Showcase victory, will return to the saddle.

Up and Out of Site, a six-time winner on grass, appears to be in a good position to exploit the abundant early pace of this year’s edition of the John Henry. The late running Up and Out of Site failed to fire against open allowance company over the Fair Grounds turf in his last outing but will be making just his second start for new trainer Keith Desormeaux after being claimed for $20,000 in mid February. Defending riding champ Diego Saenz has the call.

Unitas will be returning to the scene of his maiden score when he graduated over the local course in August 2010. Trained by Brett Brinkman,Unitas will be seeking to make amends for disappointing as the 4-5 favorite in an optional claimer at Delta Downs in his last start. Unitas could not be training any better of late, going 58 seconds flat in a five-furlong move at the Evangeline Training Center last week. Gerard Melancon has the mount.